Friday, May 26, 2006

Fear and Control

I have a problem pulling myself under the bar. I'm fine during push presses, but push jerks kick my ass. Power cleans are easy enough, but the squat clean makes me feel about as coordinated as Dick Cheney with a shotgun.

In my grand tradition of over-analysis, I'd like to figure out what's causing this little lapse in athleticism.

The problem lies in technique. That's pretty clear. I catch push jerks and split jerks with straight legs, and my clean sequence doesn't include a decent catch.

These details don't come close to covering the things that are wrong with my mechanics. Nonetheless, they're indicative of the problem.

I'm scared. There is a point in both the push jerk and the squat clean where I have to give up control. This moment is brief, but it's there. You've got to switch direction, and pull yourself under a very heavy object that wants to fall on your head.

Gravity is in control. You've got to get under the bar and stop a force of nature in its tracks. I'm not so good at this part.

In the push press and the power clean, I'm only fighting gravity in one direction. I'm creating momentum and elevation, and gravity is pulling downward. As long as I generate enough force to overcome gravity, I win.

In the push jerk and the squat clean, the above sequence is only half the battle. After I've imparted momentum and elevation on the bar, I have to pull myself under it, becoming one with the very force that's trying to drop weight on my head.

Then I've got to fight gravity again, sandwiching myself between the bar and the floor.

The hard part is trusting gravity not to kill me while I reverse direction. No problem with 95 pounds on the bar. 165? 185? Now things get a little dicey.

It comes down to fear and control. When I'm in control, I'm not intimidated by a damn thing. When gravity is in control, I get freaked out.

The solution will come when I trust technique. I'll land the push jerk with bent legs. When I'm cleaning, I'll get my elbows to the rack quickly, pulling myself under the bar. I'll believe what I'm taught and not what my hind-brain is trying to tell me.

The control will come with technique, and fear will go bye-bye.

There always comes a point in training where you're asked to do something you're not comfortable doing. You can make progress by giving it hell, or you can wallow in mediocrity by letting it win.

I wish I was staring at that bar right now. I'd give it hell...


Blogger Will T said...

I am right there with you

5/26/2006 03:27:00 PM  

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